Friday, April 26, 2013

The Circle of Life...

The irony of it all!
The circle of life at our ole homestead is one that occurs every couple of years.  The premise behind this event is that the new Spring chicks will replace the our older hens come the fall.
After a couple of years the older hens egg production drops.  No free rides here, they need to earn their keep.  If my timing is right these new pullets will begin laying (~5 - 6 months) about the time I advertise the older hens.
Also, between you me and the lamppost, I am not too crazy about the Buff Orpington chickens we have now.
Actually, come to think of it, these chicks might be just the solution in riding the basement of the rabbit/bunny odor that's masking the cat litter box odor.  It's brilliant I tell you!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Manual Labor Equals Soreness!

Before -
After -
The pea stone mulch fairy was no where to be found this past Saturday, so I was called into action to cart, dump and spread 1-yard of pea stone in an 14' x 8' area.
Of course I needed to rake back the older, larger stones first.  It took 20 wheelbarrow loads, each with 20 heaping shovels full, to move from the driveway to the back of the house.  The wheelbarrow, along with myself, were squeaking and tuckered out in short order; that's some heavy stuff!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"It's All Ball Bearings Now a Days" Fletch - Follow Up

So, the sage with our Sears Kenmore refrigerator/freezer continues...

The second replacement freezer door finally arrived the other day, as did another ice bucket (pictured above) and Sears promptly called to schedule it's installation.  Monday afternoon 4/13 was the day.  A new technician arrived, one that had not been to our house before and one that was not familiar with the ongoing issues we've been having.

The first thing the technician did was to un-boxed the door and ice bucket and checked to verify they fit properly.  Well, guess what?!?!  No-workie!  It did NOT fit, ugh!!

The replacement door, supposedly the correct model for our refrigerator/freezer, has been modified slightly and now has a lip or protrusion that prevents the ice bucket from seating properly.  You can see the issue circled in red in the above picture.  Another ice bucket was promptly order with assurances that it was the correct one BUT hold the phone!  Guess what?!  This other ice bucket arrived and it too No-Workie and did NOT fit properly and has the same issues.  What a comedy of errors.  It really highlights the incompetence at Sears.

Now here's the kicker to this sage.  Let's assume this latest ice bucket fit properly and the new parts are all in, secure and working properly.  Well, the underlying problem; the problem that initiated this debacle and has taken us down the Sears-of-Incompetence road STILL EXISTS!  That's right, after all this time, this effort, these replacement parts, we were told that "there is a known issue with this model due to the shaved ice capabilities it provides".  The "fix".  The Sears technician's recommendation is for us to periodically stick our hands up and into where the ice comes out of and manually open the sealed flap.  This will release the ice or water that accumulates there, thus preventing it from freezing into an ice ball.

REALLY?!  You have got to be kidding me!

So, I have another calling into Corporate who appear equally as incompetent.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Find The Critter

Can you find the critter in the above picture?
She's hidden amongst the buds of the soon-to-burst green Maple tree leaves.

We've Been Mulched!

The dark brown pine mulch fairy came to our yard and worked her magic.
She brought and spread 5-yards of mulch primarily in the front yard beds.  Of course she did this only after re-edging all the beds to make them slightly larger and more defined.
She did a fantastic job too; it looks great!  I understand that she has a tough time standing straight after performing all this work, even today.
We could use another ~5-yards to do the side and back yard beds too but we'll need to do much more can collecting before we can afford to have her come back again.

More We Like Harvey!

Before -
 After -
Here is the door that was replaced. Although, the French door was nice it just wasn't functional for our little kitchen area since it opened inward.  The slider solved this problem, plus the installers insulated every nook and cranny, so it's now essentially air tight.
Just need to figure out a way from preventing Trixie dog from jumping up and scratching the windows when she wants in.  I'm leaning towards stapling socks onto her front feed... 

We Like Harvey!

 Before -
After -
Our new windows and door arrived and were all installed last week, yippee!
We replaced (4) windows, including the one shown above.  They were all Anderson windows that we're installed when the house was built some 20+ years ago.  Anderson is a good quality window but we had the darndest time opening and closing, if we could at all.
We opted to go with Harvey this time around and are SO VERY pleased with the windows and the work and craftsmanship of the folks who installed them. Top notch.
As you can see above we chose to go with a protruding bay window with looks fantastic but also now allows us to easily see out to the left and right.  The old window not so much.  This is a great new feature, as we can now look up the driveway to see who might be pulling in.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Creepy Crawly Damage-Causing Insects

Here is a sampling of the damage causing insects I came across while working on our flower beds this past weekend.

I have to tell you that I am shocked at just how many of the white grubs I uncovered; too many!  I collect about 30 of them, which I fed to the chickens who devoured them in short order.  I squashed about another 30 too, as it was just easier versus stopping constantly to collect them.  After all my hands were already covered and stained in dirt, whats some additional insect innards too?!

What this tells me is that on top of the (6) 40lb bags of lime and the 15,000 square foot bag of Scott's Step 1 fertilizer I put down on our entire lawn I now need to purchase a couple bags of grub control and spread it too before these dudes do too much damage to our lawn.

The shockingly large (3 1/2") white grub is, from what I can determine, a member of the Cerambycidae family, which are long-horned beetles, round-headed wood borers.  The small white grubs are June and Japanese beetles.  And the darker worms are "cutworms", which are moth larvae that sleep in the soil or leaf litter during the day, and wake at night to nibble the tender stems of young plants, cutting them to the ground.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I See You Looking At Me!

Here's a White Breasted Nuthatch cautiously grabbing a bite to eat from our bird feeder.  They're a skittish bird, constantly looking around and listening.  They don't stay long, rather they come and go constantly.

We have the Yellow Breasted Nuthatch that also visits but I've yet to get a good picture.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monster Kits, Soon To Be Mobile!

Our 10 day old baby bunnies!
Little monsters they are too. They should be opening their eyes in the next couple of days and at the point they'll become super active and mobile.
Emilie can't wait, she's SO excited.
Naturally, she wants to keep all four babies but we've already committed one to a friend.  We'll end up keeping one but only if it's a girl.  So, we'll have (2) available for adoption if anyone's interested.

And We're Off...Update

Wanted to provide an update to my "And We're Off" posting from March 24.
Admittedly, the results could be better especially if we were looking for seedling from each seed planted.  Unfortunately, that not the case for us.  Since we have limited space for vine growing vegetable, all I was looking for was one plant from each group of which there are five.  With the exception of seeds from the 400+lb pumpkin we accomplished our goal.

As of this morning 25 seedlings have emerged, which makes us at 50%.
I need to replant into larger pots, as some of these dude are getting too big and already outgrowing their starter cup.

Friday, April 12, 2013

4077th M*A*S*H Beer

Here is another interesting beer can of mine.
I only have the one and it's still full.
What a great show M*A*S*H was too!

Do You Have A Cat?!

So, I've solved the cat litter box odor issue. You know, "that smell"!  The smell that the cat owners no longer detect since they're around it day in and day out.  However, believe you me, it's still there and it's detected immediately by all visitors.

Anyway, this issue has been resolved in our household.  If you were to come over you would have no idea that we own a cat and maintain a litter box, nope!

Are you ready for the secret?  Two words, "nursing rabbit"!

Yup, that's right simple bring a nursing mother rabbit with four kits into your basement and in NO time the cat litter odor is gone!  Ingenious right?!

Now, just need to solve the nursing rabbit smell that has taken over the basement, UGH.

Please feel free to use this technique if you're a cat owner, as well as passing this jewel of a tidbit onto others.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

As Astro Would Say, "Ruh-Roh"

Trixie dog and her favorite chew toy anxiously riding in the car headed to the veterinarian.

She is not a fan of driving in the car and tends to whine a LOT.  However, she was overdue for her checkup, vaccines and heart worm medicine.

She's protected and in good shape now, however, our pocket book is quite a bit lighter, geesh!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Jack 2.0 Is A Papa!

Say hello to happy Jack 2.0!
He is our relatively new Holland (Mini) Lop buck and the proud papa of (4) 9-day old plump babies.

Lady in Red

Check out this lovely female cardinal perched in our peach tree.
She blends in nicely too with the colors of the peach tree branches.
Spring is in the air here in Franklin, as you can see the buds are bursting-at-the seems to come out.

Find the Critter

Can you find the critter(s) in the above picture?
Hint:  There are two of them.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Gangway Coming Through!

Emilie has gotten into the habit, which started last season, of tooling around the yard on the lawn tractor.  Today was no different. She appeared out of nowhere as I was getting ready to put the tractor away.  Here she is, proud as a peacock, and having fun.

Dirty Dirty Dirty

Since it was so chilly this morning I decided to work inside until it warmed up some. The chore was to tune up the lawn tractor and get it ready for the lawn mowing season ahead.
I drained the oil, changed the oil filter, fuel filter, spark plugs and air filter, see photo.
Of course, after all this work I needed to put it through it's paces and spent the better part of the day thatching the entire lawn, then sweeping up all the thatch.  It was a lot of work but thankfully it's done.
Tomorrow, I will finish the day by applying Scott's Step 1 fertilizer and let Mother Nature do her thing.  Oh, by the way, the lawn tractor ran like new; purred like a kitten.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Fun With Shadows

The sun was pouring through the French doors the other afternoon and casting this rather odd shadow against the wall.
It's the shadows of our Easter Lilly and kitchen chair both entwined.
It's our play on the old bed of nails.  Come on over for a visit and sit... 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Novelty JR Beer

OK, show of hands how many of you remember and/or were a fan of the television show "Dallas" that ran from 1978 to 1991?!
One of the main characters was a J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman).  However, I liked him better in "I Dream of Jeanie".
Another unusual collectible was J.R. Ewing Premium Beer. Distributed by Pearl Brewing Company in San Antonio, Texas, J.R. beer was sold from “J.R.’s private stock,” with the personal message, “If you have to ask how much my beer costs, you probably can’t afford it – J.R. Ewing” printed on each can.
This is the one and only can in my collection.
P.S. I never watched or cared for the show Dallas, nor am I a fan of the Dallas Cowboy's!

The "Kits" Have Arrived!

Good news, bad news.
Our (2) does were bred about thirty days ago and both had their babies (kits) earlier this week.
Lucky, who is a first time mother had (7) babies Easter night.  Moe, who is Lucky's mother had (5) babies on Monday night (4/1).
Moe is a great rabbit.  Actually, she is one of the bunnies that JoAnne saved and hand raised by bottle feeding after her mother rejected. She has a super friendly disposition and is also a terrific mother.  As you can see from the above pictures she used the box provided to make her nest and pulled ample amounts of hair to keep her kits warm.  Two thumbs up for Moe!
Sadly, however, Lucky was not so "lucky".  I'm not sure why, perhaps, due to her being a first-time mother or something she inherited from her grandmother but she refused to care for her kits.  She had them outside the box, didn't pull much hair at all and simply was not interested in them.  In the end and after only three days all seven died.
The jury is still out on whether I should try breeding her one more time or if I care to keep her any longer.  I may cut my losses and rehome her and instead keep one of Moe's five.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Turkey Vulture Visitor

Emilie snapped this picture of what I believe to be a visiting Turkey Vulture.

Apparently, this dude flew in and landed in this tree not too far from where she was in the back yard!  It spooked her some but she kept cool, ran into the house and grabbed her camera to take this photo.

I welcome these birds of prey and would love it if they'd help themselves to varmints and rodents that scurry about in the back yard.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A Small Chorus Frog

With the exceptions of hearing my kids calling me "dad", one of the next best sounds I enjoy is the Spring Peeper.  Their chorus is an indication that Spring has arrived.  It also reminds me and takes me back to when I was growing up.

Well, it's that time of year again!  I've noticed them for a couple weeks now but for some reason last night, just after dark, I stepped outside and they seemed louder and more were joining in.  If not for the cold I could have sat out there for hours just listening to them.

If you've never heard a Spring Peeper or if you've forgotten what they sound like take a listen to this "The Best Spring Peepers night sounds recording..."

Monday, April 01, 2013

A Singing American Robin


This dude was perched high atop the Boxelder tree in our backyard yesterday morning and singing away.  Spring is definitely in the air!